I really should have known better.
I’d tangled with similar things in summers past but never learned my lesson.
And there it was, just ten bucks, in the clearance basket at Walgreen’s — a tiny, remote-controlled stunt drone for my kiddos.
A super-cool toy and fun summertime homeschooling unit all in one! Physics! Engineering! FAA regulations!
I couldn’t help myself—into my cart it went. As for batteries? Eh, I had plenty at home. No need to get any new ones.
I headed home with my prize, gleefully anticipating my children’s delighted reactions to today’s backyard science class.
Of course, they were thrilled. As they clustered around me at our patio table, jostling each other and bouncing up and down with excitement, I opened the box and started inserting the batteries I’d found in our junk drawer.
The anticipation built as I turned it on. Tiny multicolored lights started flashing all over the drone. The propellers began to spin. It took flight, hovering clumsily for a second before lifting off dramatically and soaring towards the sky—and then abruptly turning off and crashing to the ground, losing a propeller blade or two in the process.
Amidst shrieks of delight from my toddlers and cries of concern from my teens, I retrieved the drone to see what the problem was.
Of course, it was the batteries.
After experimenting with various different combinations of the assorted used batteries we had at home, I resigned myself to another trip to the store. And the new batteries worked spectacularly—for about ten minutes. That drone burned through batteries like nobody’s business.
Like I said, I should have known better. We’d gotten remote-controlled flying toys in the past, and they always seemed to cost more than our electric bill to keep powered up. Expending so much effort requires frequent battery recharges—it’s just a fact, albeit one that’s often overlooked.
In my experience, we homeschooling moms tend to expend a similar amount of energy ourselves. On top of all the regular mom stuff—taking care of little ones, keeping everyone fed, managing the housework, running errands, maybe even holding down a job—and the other activities we value, like helping out at church and volunteering in our communities, we’re also constantly creating new lessons for every single school subject, customized to each one of our children’s skill levels and learning styles.
When you really think about it, drones ain’t got nothing on homeschooling mamas!
Just like drones, though, we definitely need regular opportunities to recharge our batteries, or else we could crash just as spectacularly into homeschooling burnout.
We spend so much time planning our kids’ summers to be sure they make the most of every minute—from vacations to camps to summertime lessons to downtime—but this summer, take a minute to think about your own needs, as well. How can you incorporate some time into your summer schedule to recharge your own batteries and head into the new school year feeling refreshed and energized? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Further your OWN education.
You’ve spent a year focused on educating your children, but what about continuing your own education? Homeschoolers know just how much richer and more exciting learning can be when they are making connections between subjects. Spending some time furthering your own education serves that same purpose for both you and your kids!
When you delve deeper into your own areas of interest, like learning a new language , or how to knit, or how to start a vegetable garden, you might just be surprised at the new ideas they spark for your homeschooling and beyond. Whether you take a class, read a book, or watch how-to videos online, time spent broadening your own horizons will give you the chance to take a break from the and come back to it refreshed and full of new inspiration.
Make time for a spiritual retreat.
One of the main reasons many of us homeschool is to impart our beliefs, values, and worldview to our children. But in the frenetic pace of everyday life, it can sometimes be easy to forget that it’s not enough to impart these values to our kids—we need to be spending time deepening our own relationship with the Lord, as well.
One of the best things you can do for your own spiritual health, as well as your family’s, is to make time for a spiritual retreat. You may be able to find a retreat taking place through a local church, or you could create your own, gathering your Bible, a journal, and some devotional books, and setting a daily time to spend reading and praying for a week or two. And who knows? You may find that you and your family reap so many benefits from the practice that you continue it through the school year, as well.
Check off that to-do list.
Nothing feels quite as good as finally finishing a project that’s been hanging over your head for months or taking care of something you’ve been putting off for ages. Why not use this summer to take care of whatever has been weighing you down so you can start next year free of those mental burdens?
Break the task down into bite-sized pieces so it doesn’t seem so overwhelming, and don’t forget to schedule each part in your planner or calendar so you won’t be tempted to put it off any longer. Enlist your kids’ help, if possible, or schedule some strategic activities to keep them occupied while you work. Finishing it up will give you both peace of mind and an energy boost to tackle the next big thing that comes your way.
Attend a homeschool convention.
Finally, one of the best ways to jumpstart your enthusiasm for the next year of homeschooling is to attend a homeschool convention. Many of these take place in the summer, and they all provide attendees with the opportunity to learn about new curriculum options, listen to inspiring talks, and meet other homeschoolers.
You may emerge with an entirely new approach to homeschooling, some newfound homeschool friends, or just a sense of renewed excitement for the year ahead. Regardless, it’s a great way to recharge those homeschool mom batteries.
So whether you’ve got a full summer planned for your kids complete with continued lessons, hands-on projects, and field trips to educational locations, or you’re taking some strategic downtime to let everyone decompress, make sure to work some Mom Time into the schedule, too. And while you’re at it, would you pick up some new batteries for that drone? It’s out again!